The Guilty Pleasure: Bear Hot Dog Where To Get It: Short Leash Hot Dogs The Price: $6 What It Really Costs: Weird looks when you describe it to your friends.
I know, I know, it's another article about food trucks. I can't help it. Food trucks are often a Guilty Pleasures post just waiting to happen. You take a pedestrian food item, give it a couple of creative twists, and voilà, you have yourself a unique dish that simply must be tasted to be believed.
They don't get much crazier than the Bear at Short Leash Hot Dogs.
Bear got its start as The 7th Inning Stretch Dog, an entry in an Arizona Diamondbacks-themed hot dog challenge. After the dog won, Short Leash served it from the truck as a special. The response was so favorable that it's now part of the permanent line-up, alongside such other clever (some would say weird) creations as Igby (coleslaw, bleu cheese, BBQ sauce) and Lady (chipotle cream cheese, sautéed onions, and fried pickles).
The Bear starts simply enough, with a base of BBQ sauce, crumbled bacon, and gouda cheese. Then, it goes zooming out to left field. Taking inspiration from the classic baseball ditty "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", the dog gets topped off with two things I've never seen on a tube steak: Cracker Jacks, and peanut butter. Short Leash does provide several varieties of frankfurter; the beer hot link is the way to go. It has an assertive flavor that holds its own under all the madness that the toppings bring.
I'm trying to figure out how the hell peanut butter is so good on a hot dog. This shouldn't work on any level, but it all just comes together. It manages to strike a nearly flawless balance between salty, sweet, smoky, and spicy. The Cracker Jacks give some great textural contrast to all of the other soft toppings. I'm trying to figure out how best to describe it, and (rare times, this) I'm at a loss for words. Simply put, it's like nothing I've had before.